Last afternoon by the pool, although the weather wasn't so good - there were distant thunderstorms sweeping down between Kephalonia and Ithaka, Kephalonia and Zakynthos. But we were in sunshine. Suddenly one not so distant - a huge crash and, not much later, torrential rain. I grabbed towels and dashed off to our room. Peter followed but his dash must have been too fast for the combination of rain and tiled path. Crash - that was him - his feet skidding forward from under him as he turned the corner of the building. Laden, so no hands to break the fall. Head and hard surface. Not a good meeting. He lost memory of the next 20 minutes and hasn't regained it.
He was helped to the room by another guest and Hara, the owner of the apartments. During the next quarter of an hour he asked me at least a dozen times "What happened to me?"
Yes, their use can be infuriating on public transport or in quiet places, but what an asset mobile phones were in the circumstances. I had so many opportunities to be grateful for mine in the days that followed. First call to the doctor at the health centre five miles away. Second to Olympic, the holiday company. They offer the 'finest care and attention'. I can vouch for that. Patrick, our rep, Sue and Caroline were wonderful.
The doctor checked him and advised we go to hospital. Taxi to Argostoli, the capital of the island, some 20 miles away. Caroline was waiting with someone who could translate for us. (Rather ironical, as Peter is a translator himself). I could have managed in French or Spanish, possibly even in German, but, even after all these years, my Greek is limited to less than a dozen words, mostly to do with food!
The hospital must have been built after the 1953 earthquake and much of the equipment looks as though it hasn't been replaced since then. But they do have X-ray equipment - he had five X-rays of head and chest. No fracture so no scan needed - they have that equipment too - but he was to stay in for 24H observation. I visited Cheryl and Catherine in the next room - we'd met them several evenings previously in a taverna and they'd taken a photo of Peter and I on my camera. When the storm hit they had been several miles along the coast, on a steep road, on a bike. There were hailstones the size of gob-stoppers. They and the bike had slid down the road. Luckily 'only' severely grazed and Catherine had her ankle stitched. The bike had disappeared. There had been a spate of accidents around the island, we heard later.
Late that evening, back to base for me, by taxi again. My 'next-door neighbours' shared their evening meal with me. A sleepless night. The next morning I was moved to other accommodation a couple of hundred metres away - we had been due to return home that day, the 11th, and our room was needed for someone else. Fotis arrived with a car and carried all my bags. Hara phoned the hospital for me to find out how Peter was doing and I returned to collect him that evening - another round trip with the local taxi driver. I was getting used to the no seat-belt, driving with one hand and juggling three mobiles with the other style of driving by now. When he was settled in bed Hara arrived with flowers.
The following week Peter rested on his bed in our darkened room and I sat either by his side or some ten feet away on the shady patio. Peter used my stick to get around the room. He had severe concussion and vertigo and felt worse after a couple of days than he had when he fell.
Our tans faded. I made quick sorties to the little supermarket, to the bakery and to the pool bar for food. We lived on fruit - some of it gifts to the patient, some of it bought and some - apricots and oranges - straight from the trees, Greek salads for me, Danish pastries and toasted sandwiches. Everyone I saw wanted the latest bulletin. Texts flew around the island, back and forth to the UK and even from my sister Kathy when she landed in Singapore. My texting speeds increased and I only lost two. Computing was a wash-out. I spent half an hour in an internet cafe. The computer switched itself off five times. I managed to send one e-mail to my Amida buddies. This was the only point when I felt like bursting into tears.
The kindness we were shown by everyone, including the Katelios locals, was astonishing - "Don't worry if you run out of money - we know you come here often - you can pay another time." Meals were brought to our room. I read when I wasn't texting. Friends and family phoned as did the travel company and the supportive insurance people (thank you, Daryl). My ex-husband, Simon and Rachels' dad, offered to fly out to help us get back. (I didn't take the offer up, but it was so kind). The doctor visited three times and drove me to the pharmacy - my own medication had run out as I had expected to be home by then.
Peter was certified as fit to travel by the end of the week. Olympic managed to find us the last two seats on their flight to Newcastle. Back with our taxi driver and off to the airport. Peter straight into a wheelchair. Patrick took us to check-in as soon as it opened. The journey home was smooth and hassle-free apart from some turbulance when I had a full cup of coffee and the lady in the next seat showering me with a sachet of Worcester sauce intended for her tomato juice. That white top was just meant to be brown.
Yesterday we visited our G.P. - yes, it'll just take time and lots of rest - and Robin, our cranial osteopath, for the gentle start to some treatment.
It could have been a lot worse. We have so much to be thankful for. Particularly the kindness that was offered in buckets full by so many people. Namo Amida Bu.
And we'll be back at the end of August, our eighth visit to the island and fifth to Katelios. For two weeks - and no wishing for an extended visit!